Short CV/Education and training

Current post

  • Since 2007
    Director of Research and Full Member, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Oxford Branch and Professor of Cancer Biology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

Previous posts

  • 2004 – 2007
    Director of Research and Full Member, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research London Branch, and Professor of Cancer Biology, University College London, UK

  • 2000 – 2004
    Full Member of Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research St. Mary's Branch and Professor of Cancer Biology, Imperial College London, UK

  • 1996 – 2000
    Associate Member of Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, St. Mary's Branch, Imperial College London, UK

  • 1993 – 1996
    Assistant Member, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, St. Mary's Branch, Imperial College London, London, UK

  • 1991 – 1993
    Postdoctoral Fellow, Cancer Research Campaign Laboratories, Department of Biochemistry, University of Dundee, UK

  • 1986 – 1987
    Visiting Scientist, Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London, UK

  • 1985 – 1986
    Research Assistant, Cancer Institute, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, P. R. China


  • 1991
    PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology, Imperial Cancer Research Fund and University College London, London, UK

  • 1985
    MSc in Cell and Molecular Biology, Cancer Institute, Peking Union Medical College & Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, P. R. China

  • 1982
    BSc in Biochemistry, Sichuan University, Chengdu, P.R. China

Selected publications

  • 1Lu M, Breyssens H, Salter V, Zhong S, Hu Y, Baer C, Ratnayaka I, Sullivan A, Brown NR, Endicott J, Knapp S, Kessler B, Middleton MR, Siebold C, Jones Y, Sviderskaya EV, Cebon J, John T, Caballero O, Goding CR, Lu X. Restoring p53 function in human melanoma cells by inhibiting mdm2 and cyclin B1/cdk1 phosphorylated nuclear iASPP. Cancer Cell 2013; 23(5): 618-33.

  • Lu M, Zak J, Chen S, Sanchez-Pulido L, Severson DT, Endicott J, Ponting CP, Schofield CJ and Lu X. A code for RanGDP binding in ankyrin repeats defines a nuclear import pathway. Cell 2014; 157:1130-45.

  • Wang Y, Bu B, Royer C, Serres S, Larkin JR, Soto MS, Sibson NR, Salter V, Fritzsche F, Turnquist C, Koch S, Zak J, Wu G, Liang A, Olofsen PA, Moch H, Hancock DC, Downward J, Goldin RD, Zhao J, Tong X, Guo Y, Lu X. ASPP2 controls epithelial plasticity and inhibits metastasis via β-catenin-dependent regulation of ZEB1. Nature Cell Biol 2014;16, 1092-04.

  • Owen RP, White MJ, Severson DT, Braden B, Bailey A, Goldin R, Wang LM, Ruiz-Puig C, Maynard ND, Green A, Piazza P, Buck D, Middleton MR, Ponting CP, Schuster-Böckler B, Lu X. Single cell RNA-seq reveals profound transcriptional similarity between Barrett’s oesophagus and oesophageal submucosal glands. Nat Commun 2018; 9(1):4261.

  • Chen S, Wu J, Zhong S, Li Y, Zhang P, Ma J, Ren J, Tan Y, Wang Y4 Au KF, Siebold C, Bond GL, Chen Z, Lu M, Jones EY, Lu X. iASPP mediates p53 selectivity through a modular mechanism fine-tuning DNA recognition. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2019; 116 (35) 17470-17479

Selected projects

  • The main goal of our research is to identify molecular mechanisms that control cellular plasticity and suppress tumour growth. Cells are able to change their characteristics and cell fate in response to external signals. This ability to change – cellular plasticity – underlies cancer initiation, metastasis and resistance to therapy. We are particularly interested in ‘guardians’ of plasticity in epithelial cells, from which over 80% of human tumours originate. We have a long-standing interest in the tumour suppressor p53 and the ASPP family of proteins (Apoptosis-Stimulating Protein of p53; Ankyrin repeats, SH3 domain and Proline rich sequence containing proteins), which have several roles including regulation of p53.

  • Our current areas of interest include: understanding how selective transcription is controls cell fate; identifying regulators of cellular plasticity in upper gastrointestinal cancer initiation and metastasis (particularly oesophageal cancer and gastric cancer); and understanding the influence of infection on cell plasticity and cancer.


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